Life sciences in Belgium: A success story with many future challenges

The Belgian life sciences sector is on the rise. In the past decade, some 10,000 jobs have been created and both exports and R&D expenditures have more than doubled. According to, the Belgian sector federation of the chemical and life sciences industry, Belgium can remain the gateway for biotech companies in Europe, for instance by continuing to invest in tax incentives.

In 2021, the biopharma and biotech sector employed 36,956 people, over 1,500 more than in 2020. Employment in the sector has continued to grow over the past decade. More than 10,000 workers have been added since 2011. R&D expenditure has also more than doubled over the same period, from 2.1 billion euro in 2011 to 5.1 billion euro in 2021. Moreover, the global export of corona vaccines has boosted the sector’s exports, which increased by half to 83 billion euro last year. The latest figures also show a positive trend for value added, which will reach 11.6 billion euro in 2020.

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